Minnesota United FC returned from a bye week to delight home fans at the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome with a 2-0 win over FC Edmonton to go level on top of the NASL standings with the Tampa Bay Rowdies, who face the Atlanta Silverbacks at 7.30pm.
Simone Bracalello earned the hosts a halftime lead with a disputed penalty and just as FC Edmonton was pressing for an equalizer after 73 minutes, Lucas Rodriguez doubled Minnesota’s lead on the counter attack.
“It was an important win for us,” said United coach Manny Lagos. “I really was proud of the guys, finding different ways to create chances and win the game. Our back four were outstanding today and didn’t let up.”
Daryl Fordyce was presented with a clear opportunity to steal a lead for Edmonton after only two minutes as he breached a flat home back four, but saw his low finish saved by the legs of a sprawling Daryl Sattler.
On the half hour mark, Minnesota, who were held to a 0-0 draw on opening weekend by the San Antonio Scorpions, scored their first goal of the 2013 season.
FC Edmonton midfielder Neil Hlavaty was judged to have committed an infraction as his side defended a corner kick, and the hosts were awarded a penalty, a decision that did not sit well with the Canadians. Italian Bracalello stepped up and drilled the resulting spot kick inside the right post of Lance Parker, who had guessed and dived the right way but could not cope with the pace of the finish.
“I felt we were robbed and it was as poor penalty decision,” said Eddies coach Colin Miller. “If they don’t have the penalty decision then for me, they don’t even look like scoring in the first half.”
Bracalello then turned provider after 34 minutes with a cross from the right that Max Griffin, making his debut in place of missing strike pair injured Etienne Barbara and suspended Pablo Campos,met with a diving header directed just wide of the target.
After the break, Shaun Seiko and Michael Cox should have done better when the ball sat up between them in front of goal and only a timely intervention by Kyle Altman conceded the first of Edmonton four corners in quick succession.
Then a minute later on the counter attack, Rodriguez arrived at far post to slam home a loose ball crossed by Aaron Pitchkolaninto the roof of the net despite Lance Laing’s diving attempt to make a last ditch tackle.
“When you see the development of that play and a clever finish by Aaron Rodriguez, that was a fun goal to watch,” added Lagos. “It was a very important goal too because we were up against a team that was handling us and we came through.”
Edmonton coach Miller added: “I thought we were still the better team and looked more dangerous. I’m very disappointed. That’s three different away games we’ve had and I thought today was two teams that were committed to winning.
“We played very well and I’m very, very disappointed in not at least getting a point today. We can’t buy a break at the moment. I can’t ask any more of the players. They were totally committed today and if they continue along those lines we’ll win more games than we lose.”
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|Minnesota United FC||12||4||2||6||-5||14|
|Fort Lauderdale Strikers||12||2||2||8||-14||8|